Select one of the keywords
The Rapture: In the Twinkling of an Eye, Countdown to the Earth's Last Days    by Tim F. LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins order for
by Tim F. LaHaye
Order:  USA  Can
Tyndale, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

The Rapture is part of the Left Behind series, the third entry in a trilogy of pre-Tribulation stories. Basically, it covers what happened immediately before the events described in the first book of the series, Left Behind. Readers will learn what happened in the lives of Buck, Rayford, Chloe and others before they were left behind.

The Left Behind series has been a popular one since it first burst onto the scene. Christians and non-Christians alike were attracted to the theme of the Rapture of people prior to the second coming of Christ, and many of the books in the series have been on bestseller lists. Written by a team of two authors - Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins - the book explores what may happen during the tribulation period as predicted in the Bible. The pre-tribulation view (the belief that Christians will be taken to heaven right before the seven year tribulation period and thus escape the punishment meted out to the non-believing world) is the accepted viewpoint in this series.

The Rapture is the third in the prequel trilogy, and describes events in the days leading up to the disappearance of Christians all around the world. Rayford is contemplating having an affair with one of his co-workers, Hattie; Buck is traveling around the country interviewing people for the story of the century about the failed attack by the Russians against Israel; and Nicolae Carpathia is getting ready to be the world leader Anti-Christ. Also included is a description of what Rayford's wife and son experience as they are taken into heaven, and a sermon by her preacher prior to that, that rebuts critics' points about the authors' representation of the second coming of Christ, most specifically the pre-tribulation view.

Most of the books in the series have been fairly entertaining and well written, with a good grasp of basic Christian theology and a competent blending of fictional adventure woven into facts. Everything moves along at a fast pace, and characterization is good. With so many different characters, it can be confusing at times, but the authors do a decent job of tying it all together into an enjoyable read. The later books in the series tended to get bogged down a bit with the inclusion of lengthy prologues about events from earlier books, to bring readers up to speed, but were still light, entertaining reads. The last book in the series dealt with the second coming of Christ, and pretty much wrapped it all together. So, it seems redundant to have this prequel added to the original series and to my mind, takes away a little from the Left Behind story. It's like a painting where the artist doesn't know when to finish.

The story vignettes are interesting for those who want to know more about their favorite characters. However, I found the chapters dealing with the rapture of Irene and Raymie (Rayford's wife and son) to be over the top. Frankly, it went into way too much descriptive detail about what may happen as Christians are called into heaven and then meet the inhabitants. I frankly would prefer to leave this to the imagination, as there is no way we can express the concept in human terms. This long treatment trivialized the second coming of Christ, in my opinion.

I recommend The Rapture to anyone who is interested in more of the Left Behind story, and who appreciates that this is fiction, not fact. Although it is based on theology, as a work of fiction it should be not taken too seriously by Christians concerned with exact theological points.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more SF books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews